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Proof of Concept, four minutes

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Proof of Concept, four minutes


Published 2006


This is one of many short video segments which will be added to the Digital Tipping Point (DTP) archive. This particular segment is our first proof of concept video short. It's not really a trailer, because a trailer is a much more complete promotional short used to give the viewers a feel for the final product. This proof of concept, by contrast, is really just to see how these particular segments would look together; to introduce a few of our interviewees; to show the audience some of the basic ideas in our film; and to show funders that we have interviewed some fairly significant political leaders.

There are some very dramatic moments in this segment. Lots of people have heard that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer interrupted a skiing vacation to visit the Mayor of Munich when he heard that Munich was considering moving to free open source software. It's true, which is why the Munich story has captured the imagination of lots of people following the digital tipping point. Munich Mayor Christian Ude is a remarkably charismatic individual, and he opens this segment by asking, "The question is, will the dam break!" He's referring, of course, to his city's decision to move to open source, and the potential domino effect that might have on the idustry.

Jack Messman, the brillian former CEO and Chairman of Novell who oversaw the acquisition of some major open source assets such as SuSE Linux, talks about why the open source community is such a powerful force in the software industry. In particular, Jack talks about how the community played a role in Novell's decision to spit in the face of the mammoth software market leader, Microsoft, and begin offering software and services for desktop PCs, Microsoft's bread and butter market.

Next, Eddie Bleasedale, a prominent computer consultant to the British government, talks about a conference at which Bill Gates says that a monopoly can be broken if 20% of the market moves toward a competing technology, and that it was Bill's job to make sure that 20% threshold is never reached.

Also appearing here is the equally charismatic Gilberto Gil, a rock star who was exiled from his Brazilian homeland during Brazil's authoritarian period, and later was appointed by Brazilian President Lula da Silva to be the Culture Minister of Brazil, which is the highest government post ever held by an African Brazilian. You can easily see why Minister Gil is such a popular performer; he holds your attention with his charming smile while talking about how free open source software is important to freedom in a larger social sense. Minister Gil has a breath-taking line at the end of this segment in which he talks about free open source as "walking toward freedom." If I were to say that line, no one would ever believe it. But when Minister Gil says it, you can't help but believe it's true, he says it so eloquently. Every single Brazilian I have ever met knows and loves this man, and it's easy to see why. Next time you meet a Brazilian, ask his or her opinion of Gilberto Gil, and see what response you get.

tape id = proof_of_concept_four_mins.mpg

The DTP will be many, many films created by the global open source video community about how open source is changing their lives. We, the DTP crew, are submitting this footage for anyone to rip, mix, and burn under the Creative Commons Attribute - ShareAlike license. We welcome edits, transcriptions, graphics, music, and animation contributions to the film. Please send a link for any contributions to Christian Einfeldt at einfeldt at gmail.com.

We will be building the Digital Tipping Point film on-line here at this Digital Tipping Point Wiki Page. Please feel free to stop by there and offer your own suggestions, edits or transcriptions of our video.


Producer Christian Einfeldt
Production Company DTP Crew
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language German; US and British English
Contact Information Christian Einfeldt, einfeldt at g mail dot com

Credits

Please give attribution for this snip to DigitalTippingPoint.com

For credits for this segment and all segments for the DTP main film, please go to this website:

http://digitaltippingpoint.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=41

comment
Reviews

Reviewer: einfeldt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 12, 2006
Subject: Thanks to Riaan for his review, and a reply
Hi,

I'm Christian Einfeldt, the producer of the DTP film project. Of all of the tools that we are using to prepage this DTP film, perhaps the most important is the SuSE GNU Linux distro, so I wanted to take time to reply to Riaan's thoughtful comments. I'll try to be brief, although I don't excel at being brief. Heh.

The deal between MS and Novell is definitely a digital tipping point. For the first time, Microsoft has made a public statement that it is somehow going to attempt to at least make the appearance of deriving revenue from providing services with the market entrant, GNU Linux (Linux for short). I have two points to make about these events

1) Microsoft is engaged in what Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen calls "cramming."
2) Those of us who are passionate about preserving the open Internet must never forget the Unix Wars, because Microsoft formerly succeeded, in part, by dividing the Unix community, and watching as Unix distros and commercial vendors chopped each other up. We must not allow history to repeat in that way.

A quick preface. Our first DTP film, code-named "Buzz" after the first Debian release, is not going to demonize Microsoft. We are aiming for a broad audience, and many newbies think that Bill Gates is a great guy. For a wide variety of reasons, we are not going to go needlessly negative on Microsoft.

Having said that, though, our film will touch on the fierce anti-competitive of market-leading Microsoft. Most of this film, though, will focus on the importance of freedom; how FOSS is improving the lives of its end users; and the ironic similarities between the growth of FOSS and the growth of Microsoft Windows / Office.

But to return to my main points, market leaders such as Microsoft have, in the past, attempted to "cram" a disruptive business model into their sustaining business model. Christensen says that such attempts historically have not succeeded, and that it is theoretically unlikely that such attempts will, in fact, succeed in the future. Microsoft, like Harley Davidson, RCA, Western Union, and a whole host of other market leaders before it, sees the power of the disruptive business model (FOSS) which is challenging it, and Microsoft is trying to "cram" the FOSS business model into its own business model. I think Microsoft will fail, just like RCA failed to ape Sony and "cram" transistors into its (RCA's) desktop vacuum tube radios).

Second, we must not forget the Unix Wars, IMHO. Microsoft is attempting to compete with FOSS by driving a wedge in the FOSS community. So let us continue to hold all FOSS community members accountable to the standards of freedom upon which our community is based. But let's please continue to do so in a way that does not result in a return to the Unix Wars that allowed Microsoft to monopolize the desktop market. Here is an interesting wikipedia article on the Unix wars:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix_wars

Jack Messman's basic message has not changed. It is not Novell against Microsoft. The disruptive technology which is driving this digital revolution and bringing historically unprecedented levels of freedom of expression to the world is...us, the Free Open Source Software community. We write the code, we debug the code, we market the code, and we distribute the code. Sharing is our strength. The potential for division is our only weakness.

This is not to say that I think that Riaan was engaging in divisiveness. As I say, we do need to hold all members of our community to high standards of transparency. But IMHO, Novell's actions will be viewed historically as a smart move. At the same time, I understand that some people are honked off at Novell for getting so close to the Borg. It is a scary sight.

And yet, in the same way that only Nixon could go to China, only Novell, whose income and products (Netware, WordPerfect) have been singularly battered by competition with Microsoft, only Novell is in a position to compete with Microsoft by dealing with Microsoft. This closeness between Microsoft and Novell is part of a fierce wrestling match, not a tea dance. Just my 2 cents.
Reviewer: Riaan van Niekerk - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2006
Subject: Overall good. Novell comments extremely ironic
I just found out about this project. Very nice. I want to highlight two things:

1 The sound volume was somewhat inconsistent between clips.

2 Jack Messman: "It is not Novell directly against Microsoft anymore. It is the whole community against Microsoft".

Microsoft and Novell's recent agreement puts a completely different spin on this and probably other clips by Messman.

This POC video will definitely raise the profile of the project. Keep up the great work.
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